NEW ORLEANS -- It's time to keep your umbrella handy, but not only for the rain or for shade from the hot sun, but because it's time for the annual "attack" of the buck moth caterpillars falling from trees.
Time for the birds and the bees to do their thing.
But before the buck moth gets its wings,
It's a creepy, crawly caterpillar with spines that sting.
And if you want to lessen its painful zing?
"The best thing to do is to take some scotch tape and try to pull the spines out and then any type of
topical anesthetic is usually sufficient," Entomologist Dr. Michael Carroll said in 2011 report.
In New Orleans, where oak trees are king, those buck moth caterpillars can fall out and really make you sing.
"When it stung me, it hurt so bad. I was screaming and hollering. everybody across the street from me were laughing because I was
scared, Kelly Thomas recalled in 2011.
In City Park, how walkers protect themselves had a familiar ring.
"We always walk around them. If we see them on the track, we go out and walk around it, and we try not to walk under the trees, yeah," Wilfred Moliere said with a laugh.
"I avoid them too just like my husband and all because I, and I usually wear a hat or something to make sure, you know, and I keep my neck all scrunched up," said Wilfred's wife Carol Moliere.
For one Vietnam veteran, well the buck moth caterpillar doesn't even make a ping.
"They just sting. It's a hell of a sting, but you just put a little alcohol and go about your business. (It's) always on my arms, on my neck, sometimes you know, doesn't bother me. You know, I'm one tough hombre," said Burnell Age, Sr.
If you're stung, wash with soap and water, air or blow dry so you don't push the stingers in. Use tape to try and pull the spines out since they continue to inject toxins. Rubbing alcohol, ammonia or an ice pack can help soothe stinging and itching. So can topical and oral antihistamines. Use a stick, not your hand, to gently lift them off of you.
Mid-March to early April is the time to spray trees to get rid of the caterpillars.